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Cost of Use

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Is there a rule of thumb out there that would suggest a $/mile cost of traveling in a Class A motorhome?

For example, some businesses or the government sets a $/mile rate that they reimburse for use of a personal for business trips.

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Don't worry at $.54 you won't make the gov reimbursement. This question has been broached on many forums and the input data varies a great deal based on location: cost of fuel, state taxes, insurance etc. vary from time to time and state to state. Several people have broken down the cost difference of diesel vs gas on this forum. 

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Without depreciation, last year my cost per mile was $1.37.  So far this year, $1.09.  Lower cost is probably due to lower cost of fuel for a major trip and insurance doesn't hit until September.

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I have not tried to keep track. Although I did work some numbers with a friend who was thinking about using a coach for business trips. Flying and renting a car is cheaper till you get past three weeks. He couldn't make the "time" part work because he was doing shorter trips. 

Every once in awhile someone wants to look at owning a RV as a investment, looking to break even or make money. :lol::P Good luck. 

Bill

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I am challenged with this task often at work for maintenance costs for the fleet and report out on it. I am not sure what to include in the number, here is what just comes to mind;

monthly payment

fuel

insurance

maintenance/repairs

I can say average cost per mile on maintenance for me will be different for others, year of coach, condition, manufacture, maintenance provider, average mileage estimate, MPG...etc...all will play a part on the calculation.

For us average maintenance would be .12 per mile for maintenance (total so far with this coach) (national fleet average is .16 plus tires), if you added all of the above into the equation it would be somewhere around $1.60 per mile (we average 7000 miles per year, CG charges not included above).

$13200.00 per year average out of pocket (including CG charges, fuel insurance, maintenance, coach payment) or $1.88 per mile.

 If you think about how many days we spend in the motorhome throughout the year my guess would be somewhere around $165.00 per day of use (in total). Still a little cheaper than a nice hotel per night (depending on where you are traveling). We will save on meals and you still have to get there somehow which is not figured into the $165.00 per day (that's just an average nightly average hotel rate) so if we took our SUV and stayed in a hotel, bought food out.... my guess with rough math would be $25,300 per year or $3.61 per mile or $316.25 per day of travel by car.

It wasn't that long ago we traveled by car/plane everywhere. Being able to pull over at a rest stop, not get out, take a shower and go to sleep in your own bed is priceless when traveling assuming you can locate a vacant hotel room while traveling we spent many nights catching few hours of shut eye with the seat reclined back in a rest area since all of the hotels we called were booked, that is no fun and not a nice way to start or end a vacation.

Wow, my head hurts :wacko: hope that helps.

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Here is a link to a previous discussion from 2014 on cost of operation.  Down near the bottom of the first page is a detailed analysis that I submitted.  I'll leave it to anyone who is interested to go to that discussion and won't try to reproduce the results here.  The bottom line was after 10 years, from new to very used coach, we spent $133,689 to travel 118,270 miles for an average cost per mile of $1.13.  That is operating cost, not including the purchase cost.  The per mile costs ranged from $0.60 and $0.70 the first two years (2004 and 2005) to $1.95 in 2011.  The 2013 cost per mile was $1.15 so it isn't a constantly escalating figure.  Read the full discussion for all the details.

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Tom, somehow I do not remember that post but it was fantastic! Many good points on there from everyone, Kay made a good point, my routine maintenance cost would not increase even if I doubled my miles traveled, it's just not due for any in that narrow window. 

DW and I often have this conversation, she grew up traveling by air and 5 star hotels, I didn't. When I run the numbers this is still more cost effective, or it is the way we did it. You can't put a price on family memories, we make much much more now than before. At the end of the day that is all that matters to us, making new friends along the way is a bonus.

One thing I am sure of, none of our figures will match, too many variables.

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While I wouldn't expect agreement, it seems the above statements all fall within a range.  My own figures varied considerably from year to year.  None of the above quotes I looked at are outside the range that I quoted.  It would seem that there will be years when it is more expensive and other years when it is less expensive.  I bought four new Michelin tires this spring, it will likely be a more expensive year!  One year I replaced two of the old CRT TV's with flat screen HD TV's.  Another year I replaced our Norcold with a household refrigerator.  There have been other years with repairs, modifications, improvements that add to that cost of owning the coach.  I didn't figure in the cost of purchase, campground fees or other personal expenditures.  Basically what I was tracking is what it costs to keep it running down the road with a fully functioning coach, repairing or replacing broken or outmoded components.

I've never tried to figure a per day cost for our travel, that is another project!  I have all the numbers, just need to work to put it all together.  I would expect larger variation there depending on how often people travel, the type of parks they stay in and if you take meal costs into account, how often they are eating at restaurants.

If you can afford the cost and enjoy traveling, I believe that there is no better way to travel.  Having your house with you everywhere you go makes it possible to spend time in remote areas that would be very inconvenient if traveling from hotel to hotel. 

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Tom: thank you for posting the link. your analysis is one of the three I was referencing in my first post and probably the best, and definitely the most complete. I have shared it with my friends last year when they asked me the same question.  There was another on the Good Sam RV Forum that compared cost of diesel vs gas awhile back and also a general one on the trvn forum. Tom

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We traveled 7000 miles last year, from Florida to San Francisco and back in our 38 ft Monaco Diplomat. I kept track of our expenses and it came out to about $ 1.00 per mile including everything. I traded last year at the end of the trip at Buddy Greggs in Knoxville, Tn. We up graded to a 2009 Gulfstream Tourmaster 45g. This year we are heading out for another trip, don't know how far but I will keep track and post it later on this year.  The major factors are fuel and campground prices. Fuel prices are down and campground prices are a bit more. We enjoy cooking so we donot spent very much dining out.

Safe travels

Lex and Karen Cauffield

 

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The bottom line is that if you are seriously concerned about annual costs (or any other costs) you are in the wrong hobby.

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A rule of thumb has one or more assumptions attached to it that results in a misleading conclusion when used in practice. 

The reimbursable mileage rate is only an option if you don't want to maintain your own records and establish your actual costs. 

Actual expenses one year may vary very significantly compared to the next year. 

Ignoring depreciation, your monthly payments, major repairs, comprehensive maintenance, upgrades, tires, water leaks/damage, and remodeling improves the numbers but not the reality. 

Does it really matter? Only with respect to other uses of the money that would provide alternative entertainment choices OR if it exceeds your budget.

You end up in the money pit whatever you do and any way you cut the numbers. 

What Five says should be considered not to be a sermon, but as gospel. 

Rodger S. 

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34 minutes ago, FIVE said:

The bottom line is that if you are seriously concerned about annual costs (or any other costs) you are in the wrong hobby.

Still, if you are considering a purchase and want an idea of what it will cost you to keep your Class A motor home on the road, the OP asked a very pertinent question and I think that answers have been given which should be helpful.  There is no question that each individual case is different but the overall responses fall within a fairly narrow range.

This kind of question is what an informed consumer asks before making a purchase and then finding out that they can't afford to use it because it costs too much or, conversely they may decide it isn't feasible as it probably is too expensive to operate when it turns out to be quite affordable for that buyer. 

Gathering information before making a purchase should be done by every purchaser, whether considering a motor home or a lawn mower.  The larger the purchase the more carefully it should be investigated before making the purchase.  The information is out there, in this case on the FMCA Forum but there are other sources.  Before we went full time we read books and a number of articles, browsed magazines on RV'ing and examined a number of other sources.  We considered all aspects including communication, financial and legal aspects of living full time in a motor home.  Having done so, we never felt as though we were in over our head or had unrealistic ideas of what purchasing and living in a motor home would be like.

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There are some often overlooked ways to save money on your overall expenses. First one is if you are a average owner, you may have a mortgage on the unit, the interest on the investment can be counted against your income tax as a second or primary home if you have no other. Also, if you have a business and use the MH or TT partially or wholey, for business purposes, you can also take a prorated portion of depreciation against income taxes, as well as other expenses.

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J.,

We don't worry about the cost. We just go and enjoy our trip. Of course we look at the CC bill when we get home. :o Then get ready for the next adventure. So when we get back again and we can look at the CC bills again. We do try to be conservative but not to the extent of ruining our trip.

One thing we do is when possible we stay at a WalMart, Sams or Cabela's every other night. This way we can replenish supplies and then stay in a park the next night and clean up and clean out the systems. 

Our theory is to go, have fun, enjoy our self and remind the kids we are helping them out by not leaving anything that then will need to divide when we are gone, just thing of them. :D

 

Herman   

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Back in the 80's our average cost per day, everything included, came to $83 and change per day...strange, but it's still about the same!  The few times I fly domestic and have to spend 4, 5 days in a hotel, my cost is about 3 weeks in my coach. :(:o

Carl

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"The bottom line is that if you are seriously concerned about annual costs (or any other costs) you are in the wrong hobby."

I would ADD... AND you should be considering alternative luxury vacations where you don't have to invest in an RV."

HOWEVER, HOWEVER, If you are not concerned with cost, you may wish to purchase/invest in a condo on a luxury cruise liner.

http://aboardtheworld.com

Luxury residences at sea. "Imagine the ultimate lifestyle that comes with combining a private yacht and a luxury vacation home. A home that takes you all around the globe, allowing you to wake up to new scenery outside your private veranda every few days."

You get a captain, crew, chef prepared meals, no dealerships or service technicians, no repairs and maintenance to do. 

Rodger S. 

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Herman, I like you way of thinking :lol:.

we do the same, I put it on a CCArd that has the best rewards. Pay it off when I get home.

I now use the RV pilot flying J card for fuel. The discount per gallon is great and it has no interest.

That's how I "save money" when we travel. You only live once, have fun and enjoy! 

 

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Joe.  My CC has no rewards, no interest charge and it's free, year in and year out. I suspect a lot of folks on this forum has the same card.

As for Flying J, Pilot or Love's...I stay away from them.  I use any other brand that is a truck stop and have found that my fuel is around .10 to .18 cents cheaper per gallon!  In Texas it's Bucky's the Beaver, that has the cheapest Diesel, mostly in the .20's cents per gallon, better!

On this Forum, back in  14' after the Redmond rally, I did an OP on the merging of Pilot, FJ and Love's into one ownership...he also owns CW & GS and all it's subsidiaries.  I don't care for him, Marcos Lemonis, is from Lebanon....got it?   

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Strange thing about  RV travel, no two are alike. Comparing cost is pretty useless, except to discourage anyone who thinks you can do on the cheap.

We bought a 1995 Bluebird Wanderlodge in Jan 2011 as a trial, and expected to own it a couple of years.  We have  averaged 6,000 miles, 8 weeks per year, including weekend get always and month long trips. Not counting inside storage cost and elect cost while in storage, Insurance cost, depreciation, fuel or campground fees. Just maintenance cost including tires and batteries. Rolling expense plus normal  interior maintenance and upgrades.  Average about $6,000 per year, doing all most of our own maintenance and service  The old coach has depreciated, but far lots less than a new one.  Still looks good,  comfortable and reliable. That comes out to $1.00 per mile. Our motorhome sits inside, plugged in, full of fuel and water, and clothes, ready to roll any time we chose to go.

Travel in  a Class A is not cheap anyway you do it. Is it worth it? For us the answer is clearly yes.

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